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Federal Government Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position Regarding Medical Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 8, 2011

    Earlier today, United States DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart reaffirmed in the Federal Register the administration’s ‘flat Earth’ position regarding the medical properties of cannabis.

    Responding to a nine-year-old petition to reclassify marijuana under federal law filed by a coalition of advocacy groups, including NORML and California NORML, Leonhart stated, “[T]here is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed from schedule I.”

    A summary of Ms. Leonhart’s ‘reasoning’ is below. (Read the DEA’s full response here.)

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

    Drug Enforcement Administration

    21 CFR Chapter II [Docket No. DEA–352N]

    Denial of Petition To Initiate Proceedings
    To Reschedule Marijuana

    AGENCY: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Justice. ACTION:

    Denial of petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana.

    (1) Marijuana has a high potential for abuse. The DHHS evaluation and the additional data gathered by DEA show that marijuana has a high potential for abuse.

    (2) Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. According to established case law, marijuana has no ‘‘currently accepted medical use’’ because: The drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.

    (3) Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. At present, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved marijuana products, nor is marijuana under a New Drug Application (NDA) evaluation at the FDA for any indication. Marijuana does not have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.

    Coalition advocates will be appealing Leonhart’s decision in federal court.

    NORML had previously filed a similar rescheduling petition with the DEA in 1972, but was not granted a federal hearing on the issue until 1986. In 1988, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ruled that marijuana did not meet the legal criteria of a Schedule I prohibited drug and should be reclassified. Then-DEA Administrator John Lawn rejected Young’s determination, a decision the D.C. Court of Appeals eventually affirmed in 1994.

    A subsequent petition was filed by former NORML Director Jon Gettman in 1995, but was rejected by the DEA in 2001.

    NORML will have additional information on this story in next week’s NORML media advisory.

    208 Responses to “Federal Government Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position Regarding Medical Cannabis”

    1. BobKat says:

      @#97, Jayman: What are our alternatives in 2012 to Obama? A Republican?

      YES to Gary Johnson, a potential for Ron Paul until I received literature in the mail he wants to overturn Roe vs Wade, “Life before Freedom”, and although I can appreciate his ideal, I don’t want to overturn Roe vs Wade and end up with women getting illegal abortions.I will vote Gary Johnson at at the primaries, but unless a miracle happens, it will prove futile.

      @#86, Sally:

      It is true we are currently pacifists when it comes to our rights, and fighting for them.On one of our hands – that is true. On the other hand, there are ways to wage a counter-war against the warlords in Washington, precisely because we have the technological means to do it! And we are doing it. We simply need to “go to Warp 10″… so CMD. Scott… We Need MORE POWER, Please!!!

      There’s no question this report by the DEA is a wake-up call, and we need to fight. But what amazes me is we now have the means to conduct a non-violent protest the likes the federal government has never seen, and from which, as citizens, it is powerless to block or ignore.

      The internet gives us that power. Write your representatives. Use search-engines to find and browse sites with cannabis related or K2 related merchandise, or information… sites dedicated to legalization… all of this is tracked… and all our searching sends a message to large corporations who in turn lobby the federal government.

      If you search for beer, follow it with a search for cannabis. If searching for medicines, follow by search for cannabis and medicinal use.

      Place comments on all sites devoted to legalization or those promoting prohibition, and example of the latter is NIPITINTHEBUD.COM, sponsored by Michelle Leonhart of the DEA.

      There is a WAR Against American Citizens taking place on the Ground in the USA today. That is a fact, and a violation of our Constitutional Rights. The DEA is the military conducting this war on US. Demand that the federal government cut funding to and dismantles the DEA. It is a diseased member of the federal government. A disease that began in 1971. It needs to be eliminated.This recent ruling, the denial to reclassify cannabis from it’s current Schedule One status is not based on science, commonsense, or truth. It is a rubber stamp. It is an insult in the year 2011 to all Americans, that a branch of our gov’t refuses to use truth and science in determining justice.

      It is making the USA an embarrassment to the rest of the world… it promotes the USA as being substandard in science, human rights and freedom.

      Demand an end to the DEA. It’s time that dept gets cut from the federal budget and no longer gets tax-dollars we pay.

      Stop The Hurt…

    2. Jillian Galloway says:

      Leonhart was hired *because* she agrees with the prohibition. Those who interviewed her straight up said “we want someone who agrees with this policy”. She was NOT hired to take an open-minded view on how marijuana should be controlled.

      Given the number of people being arrested and the number of people being mutilated and murdered in Mexico as a result of the prohibition, it is a disgrace that she was hired like this and it is an outrage that we can do nothing about it!

    3. Titus Smute says:

      You wanted a war, you just got aholes.

    4. […] laws? There's some due process out there to remedy your injury y'all…so get to work! NORML’s recent blog post further proves the DEA’s contempt for an honest dialogue about marijuana policy: no matter […]

    5. Jason Karimi says:

      Include this argument in your upcoming media advisory: reschedule marijuana at the state level, then petition the federal government. That will solve federal interference with state medical marijuana laws.

      http://weedpress.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/dea-denies-rescheduling-petition-advocates-plan-appeal/

    6. adriantheloser says:

      this shouldnt surprise anyone…basically what these people think is that ALL those who use cannabis for medical reasons are all just using it as an excuse to get high…as a criminal justice major i find that this attitude is also prevalent…especially among cops…

    7. adriantheloser says:

      The last paragraph is funny Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. “At present, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration FDA)-approved marijuana products, nor is marijuana under a New Drug Application (NDA) evaluation at the FDA for any indication.”

      so i guess “marijuana” who ever that is, is going to have to file with the govt…for crying out loud they are talking about a plant like its some drug manufacturer….it just goes to show how disconnected these people are….they know the truth, it just suits them to tell us lies and misinformation….

    8. Anonymous says:

      it seems like this would be a no-brainier in a federal court. All the reasons listed for denying reschedule are either false or unrelated reasoning (or both).

      but then, there may be a number of federal judges with no brains.

    9. Anonymous says:

      “There is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed from schedule I.”

      This I think is the most profound and telling of the whole response.

      We’re not supposed to be a country that requires its people to provide evidence of innocence, or they are assumed to be guilty.

    10. Dave says:

      NOW WE HAVE THE THE MOST PERFECT REASON TO STICK IT UP THEIR ASSES. ITS CALLED “FAST AND FURIOUS” THE U.S. GUN SMUGGLING TO MEXICO WHICH INVOLVED U.S. ATTORNEY HOLDER, JANET NAPOLITANO, ATF, DEA, CIA,FBI, AND THE PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA(HES THE PRESIDENT HE HAD TO KNOW ABOUT IT AND SIGN OFF ON IT. THIS RESULTED IN DEATHS OF COUNTLESSY INNOCENT VICTIMS. THEY SAY THEY ARE FIGHTING A WAR ON DRUGS WHILE DECIEVING US BUT NOW WE HAVE PROOF. WE NEED TO FIGHT THIS CROOKED GOVERNMENT AND NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT.

      [Editor’s note: Writing comments in only CAPITAL letters is not done…]

    11. jimmyd says:

      2009 Stats:
      DEA Employees 10784
      Annual Budget 2.415 billion

      2011 Stats:
      Guns owned by american 200000000?
      Americans pissed off by this crap 50000000?

    12. Calcula7ed says:

      Seek the truth, resist lies based solely on monetary gain and control of the masses. Class warfare from the classless enforced by gulags. Which to trust? Truth from “lesser beings” or outright lies and deceit from the “high and mighty” bigots that perpetrate death, destruction and misery. Remember their are more of us (majority) than their are of you (minority). I don’t care how much control/power you think you have. One minute here the next gone. Facts and the truth have never distracted corrupt (wo)men from gaining that which they were born to restrict. The will of the people. We see you for what you are…..you cannot hide forever.

    13. TheOracle says:

      #1 Why are they allowed to take so long to issue a response?

      That’s bullshit.

      #2 Why are they not forced to consider the medical evidence?

      That’s bullshit, too.

      It’s like each one of these asshole DEA heads looked at the first denial, and copied off it to issue the new denial.

    14. […] a Comment Tweet By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director NORML July 10, […]

    15. The American Genesist says:

      102. Jillian Galloway

      “It is an outrage that we can do nothing about it!”

      There is something that we can do about it. We can fail to vote for those who had anything to do with appointing and confirming her. There’s a bunch of corrupt politicians with their heads on the chopping block. They know what we don’t know – but – we know what they don’t know. The suspense is killing me – if they don’t first.

    16. The American Genesist says:

      It’s time for the American people to become the paparazzi of “corrupt politicians.” It’s time to expose their every move, their every breath, and the label on their underwear – which I’m sure is as dirty as they are. Let’s try “expose.com.” We can’t leave everything up to Jesse Ventura.

    17. Joel: the other Joel says:

      The DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart is a very bad joke on the Obama administration. This shows how stupid he really is.

    18. stompedonmyrights says:

      Time to step up and make this injustice part of the past. Time to put this Jim Crow law to rest, sign on with us and we can get this done.

      http://www.change.org/petitions/let-the-end-marijuana-prohibition-act-get-a-hearing

    19. Imin Payne says:

      William Buckley…

      June 29, 2004, 12:07 p.m.

      Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great. The laws aren’t exactly indefensible, because practically nothing is, and the thunderers who tell us to stay the course can always find one man or woman who, having taken marijuana, moved on to severe mental disorder. But that argument, to quote myself, is on the order of saying that every rapist began by masturbating.

      General rules based on individual victims are unwise. And although there is a perfectly respectable case against using marijuana, the penalties imposed on those who reject that case, or who give way to weakness of resolution, are very difficult to defend. If all our laws were paradigmatic, imagine what we would do to anyone caught lighting a cigarette, or drinking a beer. Or — exulting in life in the paradigm — committing adultery. Send them all to Guantanamo?

    20. CValeri says:

      Why can they continue to lie?
      Politicians are a disease.

    21. sucksforthem says:

      I should be upset but Im not. Im actually smiling right now. The days of the FED are numbered and they know it. They are desperete, and their sad, sick desperation may very well be their downfall. Happens everytime. History proves it. Should I get out my violin now or later? When people as bullheaded as the FEd cling to ignorance, the only outcome is self destruction. It’s gonna be epic. Im getting my popcorn.

    22. Gray Hensarling says:

      Deny, deny, deny. They flaunt their power forgetting we have yet to realize ours. We the people are capable of recognizing the truth. It is dangerous for them to expose that they are the broken cogs keeping this society from running free from corruption. 325,000+ people. How long do they expect us to tolerate this? VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

    23. tommas says:

      The only reason I have been able to lead a “norml” life with my severe IBS is because of cannabis. My only other option are opioids, liver and kidney toxicity are not OK with me.

    24. Matt Buompensiero says:

      So, is my statement that Obama IS against medical marijuana still ridiculous, Russ?

      I’m still waiting for any sign that proves I’m a fool for saying such a thing…

      The second that Biden was named Obama’s VP should have sent a loud and clear message that nothing would change. Obama only cares about the votes of the old bigots, and corrupt unions, since he thinks that non-whites will automatically vote for him…

      It’s too bad Republicans are so in love with Romney, so basically it’s like they WANT Obama in office for 2 terms…

    25. Buggsy13420666 says:

      Another no brainer by the FDA and the DEA and DOJ.

    26. Prince Charles says:

      My triple-great grandmother used it for her mestrual
      cramps, Carl Sagan used it to help him concentrate, Willie Nelson went from hard alcohol to using weed, and it probably saved his life. Every medical organization supports it, even Fed Law Admin Judge Francis Young, after two years of extensive study ruled it to be the safest, most theraputic medicine on Earth, and to top it all off every Governmental Study ever done indicates its medical value. Washington DC is being run by Big Pharma legally bribing people in key positions to block any legislation that would help millions to benefit from medical marijuana for noting more than greed, and profits. It was the same with slavery! greed, and profits. You can smell the stench coming from Washington D.C around the World!

    27. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    28. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    29. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    30. BobKat says:

      @#127, Prince C.

      I’m sure you have a story to tell too. I hope to hear it. And to grease the wheels, here’s a short version of my story:

      Beat up for the 1st time at age 4 acroos the quiet street where I grew up. A neighborhood kid. Not his fault… I had that kind of face – one of wonderment, surprise, fascination.

      I was plagued by bad allergies and illnesses growing up, a small kid, the “underdog”, fair game.

      I had a girlfriend for a week in MS. None in HS; loved reading and science, but remember all the bullies after me rather than much of the science.

      By the time I graduated HS – and yes, I hung in there, I was pretty numb. I had a history as a child of peeing my bed, fascination with fire as I built a cardboard house in my basement, age 6, got a pain of water, and lit it on fire. My mother caught me as I was trying to pick up the burning inferno and dunk it in the H2O. My father took me to visit the town’s fire chief… that was the end to my fascination with fire.

      Next came animals… just animals… no nothing gross, but there might have been. As a kid growing up my neighborhood friends and I got BB guns, we killed birds. We called each other with tallies. The 4 of us. And it was all I could do to keep up.

      Sick, but accepted as normal of kids… back then in the early 60’s. Around age 17 I asked my dentist for an old syringe and some Novocaine… he obliged, being as i was a smart kid. My mother found the syringe, and gave him hell… all I was planning on doing, based on biology classes, was to antithesis frogs and experiment on them. Seriously, my education taught me zero about life, respect for life or nature.

      At age 18 I was facing two realities… 1) I was either numb to the reality of other people, or I hated them. And 2) Suicide; I had nothing to live for, I’d been smoking tobacco since I was 15, drinking from age 16, and women were something I saw from a distance, was attracted to, but I knew they’d never like me.

      Get the drift???

      So what happened to me? How did I not do 1 or 2? Those were my choices.

      You know, what i hated the most were “druggies”, because I had been taught to hate “druggies”. And the druggies I hated the most used “marijuana”. My sister whom was the only person I really loved and could care about – well, I found out she was using “pot”. I picked up the phone to call the police… but hung it back down.

      There are those in our government that probably believe I should have turned my sister in. That was the way it was when Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany in 1924.

      By an odd twist of fate, I let it go and a year later a best friend offered myself and another best friend some Panama Red to try. I was initially in total panic mode, fear and angry with my friend. But I considered the obvious, as I had done once before, and I said YES.

      Cannabis saved my life! It woke me up to the world, to live, respect for all living creatures, and an awareness of my environment. Over the years I’ve felt guilty for who I was prior to that event, and scared shitless of what might have become me.

      My gov’t would like me to believe the former was preferable to using cannabis. My gov’t won’t conduct scientific research into the benefits or truth about cannabis. My gov’t calls cannabis too dangerous to ever talk about. Yet I read the news, have experiences over the years that make it clear to me most violent crimes, though not all, are perpetrated by straight people or those drunk on alcohol, not under the influence of cannabis.

      My gov’t would say I’m delusional… my life experience, my college and university degrees, my accomplishment and success should tell otherwise. But my gov’t doesn’t care.

      No problem. I understand now 40 years later that my gov’t is composed of many self-serving, ignorant people… and though that sure won’t gain me their favor by saying so, I don’t care; what i care about is a country where safety and people come first, not self-interests. Where science and truth come first, not money.

      I’ve enjoy 40 years of harmony, peace and good relationships… I am thankful for much this country gave me the opportunity to achieve, but I am completely dumbstruck by how dumb my gov’t is when it comes to cannabis, medicinal and recreational plants, and excuses as to why harm reduction and science isn’t practical and a WAR ON DRUGS and TOTAL IGNORANCE is.

      STOP THE HURT! LEGALIZE CANNABIS!

    31. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    32. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    33. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I […]

    34. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    35. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    36. […] for new marijuana classification* outright lie as obama doj says marijuana has no medical purpose* feds reaffirm ‘flat earth’ position regarding medical cannabis* US govt builds first law enforcement base in puebla, […]

    37. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    38. As a practicing physician, a psychiatrist since 1971 and doing Medical Cannabis evaluations for the last two years, I have proof without a doubt as to the medicinal value of the plant. I have literally hundreds of patients who would be glad to testify stating how medical cannabis has worked when other medication did not. Particularly narcotic pain relievers, anti-anxiety meds, and sleeping pills. Side effects of these meds are a special problem.
      I would like to get the California Medical Society to make a formal statement to this effect. If any of you knows a physician who feels likewise please have them get in touch with me.

    39. Jeanne says:

      The DEA is a flat earth!!

    40. sheri pollock says:

      bullshit ! the study should be with the people who use it. ask the people, not some asshole who has no idea on the subject. i’m sure if he was in pain like me and found out the benefits, he would change his mind.

    41. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    42. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    43. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    44. […] this acknowledgment comes from the very same administration that on Friday flat out rejected the notion of even allowing hearings on the question of marijuana’s schedule I classification […]

    45. Robert P. Doyle SR- U.S. Army RVN says:

      As of Aug. 10th,2011, The Homeland Security Dept. & D.E.A. have confiscated an amount of over One Billion Dolers worth of marijuanna growing in just one National Forrest in Mendocino County California. WOW, how many Trillions of U.S. Dollers are Green Growing in America. Hold a SALE, save the U.S. from real bankruptcy. Oh, ok, first fire every obstructionist politican who owe their allegiance to Grover Norquist,or are financially benefitting from forcing a negative value of U.S. Treasuries via “SHORT” positions they pre-purchased .

    46. just heard of a woman who remitted completely from a cancer after ingesting. let’s lobby for more research on this

    47. […] July, the DEA denied a nine-year-old petition seeking to initiate hearings regarding the federal classification of […]

    48. […] July, the DEA denied a nine-year-old petition seeking to initiate hearings regarding the federal classification of […]

    49. […] July, the DEA denied a nine-year-old petition seeking to initiate hearings regarding the federal classification of […]

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